The Medicare Transfer Enrollment Period
By Beverly Maniago
eMedicareSupplements Senior Writer
The Medicare transfer enrollment period is an enrollment period that is not often discussed or invoked because it is exclusively set aside for beneficiaries who have been enrolled in a private Medicare managed care plan and must pay premiums for Medicare Part A. Most seniors qualify for premium-free Part A because either they or their spouse have contributed enough in taxes to earn this benefit during their working years.
Seniors who must pay premiums for Medicare Part A hospitalization coverage are eligible to enroll in their Part A plan during the same enrollment periods that apply to Medicare Part B medical coverage: the initial, general and special enrollment periods, the most common of which is the initial enrollment period that occurs when beneficiaries first qualify for Medicare at age 65.
But seniors required to pay a premium for Medicare Part A may decide not to enroll in Part A at 65 and may opt instead for a managed care plan, such as a Medicare Advantage plan. Any senior enrolled in an Advantage plan or Medicare 1876 cost plan may enroll at any time in what is often called premium-Part A.
Once coverage from their managed care plan ends, however, there is a period of eight months when these seniors may enroll in premium-Part A. This is what is referred to as the transfer enrollment period.
The transfer enrollment period begins the month that immediately follows the month you leave your managed care plan. The transfer enrollment period is triggered if the private insurer terminates coverage or you choose to leave your plan, although you are free to sign up for a new Medicare Advantage plan instead of enrolling in premium-Part A.
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